Despite some recent legal setbacks in the community and a complete lack of regulatory clarity, Bitcoin’s march to the mainstream continues forward as the value of a single Bitcoin hovers between $800 and $900. But getting into the virtual currency remains something of an obstacle for the average person. Now, a new Web service called Card for Coin is doing its part to take a few bricks off that barrier to entry.
Founded by Matt Luongo, a 25-year-old software developer and co-founder of research search engine Scholrly, Card for Coin lets users sell their unused Starbucks gift cards in exchange for Bitcoin. (Starbucks is not officially affiliated with the site.) Simply enter in your card details into the site, and Luongo checks the balance. He’ll then offer you “a percentage of the balance” (usually between 60 to 70 percent) in Bitcoin (BTC), says Luongo. Once the customer agrees to a price, Luongo transfers the BTC to customers using popular Bitcoin exchange Coinbase. After that, “customers can throw away their card,” he says.
While the 30 to 40 percent cut is likely too steep for seasoned Bitcoin investors, Luongo believes the simplicity of his service gives newcomers an easy way to get into the world’s most popular and valuable cryptocurrency.
“It’s a great way for beginners to get Bitcoin quickly – usually signing up at an exchange takes a while, but trading BTC for services or goods is much faster,” Luongo tells Digital Trends in an email. “There’s no minimum balance on the cards (e.g. < $5 is fine), so I think that makes the value proposition better as well.”